Clark christopher
South-Central Iowa Extension Beef Specialist / Iowa Beef Center / Iowa State University
Gunn patrick
Extension Beef Specialist / Iowa State University Extension & Outreach

Bovine antibodies are not readily transferred across the placenta but rather are concentrated in the udder as colostrum during late gestation. Therefore, calves are born almost completely unprotected from infectious disease and must ingest colostrum in order to receive passive immunity from the dam.

To ensure adequate absorption, calves must receive colostrum within the first 24 hours of life. As calves age, the intestines lose the ability to absorb large molecules like the IgG antibody proteins. Additionally, colostrum contains abundant energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, water and warmth – all extremely important for newborn calves.  


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